MOON TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — They asked for answers and on Friday, they got some.
Students who wrote letters to their state lawmakers instead of walking out on Wednesday got to spend their morning asking them questions. The lawmakers told students they are pushing for two new laws. One is similar to a domestic violence emergency PFA that allows for weapons to be temporarily confiscated until a court hearing can be had if someone is an immediate threat. The other would have 6th and 11th grade students receive a mental health screening along with their routine physical.
“To have our student body lead this with our politicians today and have their questions heard, have their questions answered, means the world to us as a staff,” said Moon Area High School Assistant Principal Jason D’Alesio.
The student-led email campaign on “National School Walkout” Day worked.
“I feel like we answered a lot of good questions and a lot of students have been thinking about this email campaign and wondering, ‘Was it going to do anything? No one’s going to actually read these.’ To find out they actually read all of them and responded to every single question, it was great,” said sophomore Izabella Angevine.
State Senator Guy Reschenthaler explained the two bills he plans to back in the next session.
The first is similar to an emergency PFA in a domestic violence situation.
“The critical element of that is that you have a judge who’s making a case-by-case determination on an individual of whether or not somebody should have guns. And then there is a safety valve for a longer, more thorough hearing at a later point in time,” said Reschenthaler.
The other focuses on screening for mental illness.
“In school, we’ll be able to screen 6th and 11th grade students for depression. If that student screens for depression, we’ll be able to get that student help. We’re going to be able to interdict early and get that person help,” said Reschenthaler.
“I hope they do follow through with that. Get more funding in our schools. That would really accomplish our goal,” said Angevine.
In the meantime, Assistant Principal Jason D’Alesio will continue encouraging his students to take positive actions to effect change.
“There are many things that can be done without a dollar being spent. That’s one of the things I talk to my own daughters about. Including somebody sitting outside by themselves at lunch, outside at recess, having somebody play with you, not to bully somebody. We have to worry about right now what we can control. Right now, we can control as a student body, and an entire district, how we treat others and the culture that we create at Moon,” said D’Alesio.
The lawmakers concluded the assembly by telling the student body that they have clearly sent them a message.